Santhana Gopalakrishnan, Student Support Officer at The University of Sheffield, discusses Race Equality Champions recruitment drive


University of Sheffield recruits Race Equality Champions

University of Sheffield recruits Race Equality Champions

 January 21, 2020

Prime employer the University of Sheffield has an important recruitment initiative in place. The university is seeking students who wish to become Race Equality Champions.

The Champions will be trained to lead healthy conversations in university residences and across campus, to help their peers understand racism and its impact and equip them with skills that can be applied in a variety of work and social settings.

Santhana Gopalakrishnan, Student Support Officer at the university, talked with inews about the concept.

"Our Race Equality Champions - of which there will be around 20 - hope to encourage people to think twice about microaggressions," says Santhana.

"Being open and honest about racism is key to tackling it. That’s why at the University of Sheffield we listened to our students and worked closely with the Students' Union and our black and minority ethnic (BME) committee to develop Race Equality Champion roles, in an attempt to transform the way our students think about racism."

The Race Equality Champions will lead conversations and talk with peers using content created by students and academic experts at the university. They will work two to nine hours a week and also provide optional training to student society leaders.

"Students respond well to their peers so training students to lead this work feels like a way we can make a real impact," adds Santhana. "We want to actively facilitate healthy, open discussions and break down the barriers that often surround topics that make us feel uncomfortable. We want to give students the tools to think critically about race and perceptions of racism in our society. And ultimately, we want students to strive to be actively anti-racist in their thinking."

Part of the Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan

The Race Equality Champions form part of the university’s Race Equality Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to close the student attainment gap; address the under-representation and progression of BME students and staff; and create an inclusive culture.

"We need to stand up to racism but that means not being afraid to talk about it," adds Santhana. "I’m proud that we're making our views clear: there is no place at Sheffield for racism."

Read Santhana's full article over at inews.

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